Who Are the Jack the Ripper Suspects?

Jack the Ripper suspects are those persons implicated in the brutal slaying of 11 prostitutes in London's East End Whitechapel district during the autumn of 1888. Hundreds of suspects have been posited; the most infamous include Montague John Druitt, Michael Ostrog, Aaron Kosminski, George Chapman and Thomas Cutbush. Due to the Ripper's grisly modus operandi, most believe the killer had knowledge of human anatomy either through medical training or trade.

After his drowned body was found shortly after the last murder, Montague John Druitt became one of the earliest suspects. Eventually, however, the case against him was dropped when real evidence of medical skills remained unsubstantiated.

Russian-born petty thief Michael Orlong fell under suspicion when dubious documents claimed he had served as a surgeon in the Russian Navy. Later research proved he was actually imprisoned in France at the time of the Ripper murders.

Polish Jew Aaron Kosminski was suspected due to his ostensibly insane hatred of prostitutes, yet subsequent behavior in a London asylum seemed inconsistent with homicidal tendencies. In 2014, an amateur researcher claimed Kosminski's DNA was found on a shawl belonging to one of the victims, though the study was not presented for peer review, and there are significant doubts concerning the provenance of the shawl.

George Chapman, born Seweryn K?osowski, was also considered a strong possibility, particularly after he was hanged for poisoning three of his wives and was later proven to have lived in Whitechapel at the time of the Ripper killings. Nonetheless, some believe that the difference in killing methods was too great for him to be a real suspect.

Thomas Cutbush was a medical student eventually committed for delusional behavior, a condition likely brought on by heredity insanity. He is known to have nonfatally stabbed two women during his time in the hospital, but no other real evidence ties him to the murders or to Whitechapel in general. However, he was a popular suspect in English periodicals of the 1890s. As of 2014, no consensus exists among experts as to the true identity of Jack the Ripper.